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Copenhagen: Where to go and what to do on a long weekend

Published October 11th, 2017

Copenhagen is hands down one of the best cities I’ve ever travelled through and has to be one of Europe’s most underrated hidden gems. Most people when they head to Europe for the first time do the usual stops like Rome, Paris, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Athens and Barcelona; and I’m here to tell you do not miss the glorious like-something-out-of-a-Hans-Christian-Andersen-fairytale city that is Copenhagen next time you’re planning a trip to Europe (which really should be now cause it’s never been cheaper).

 

Not only was this city originally a Viking fishing village which began in the 10th century (that explains why they’re all pretty tall) but it is also one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. Seriously there are more bicycles here than there are cars. If that doesn’t have you convinced then let me tell you that I have never seen so many physically (and emotionally too) beautiful people in one city.

Every time I would turn a corner there would be another group of Danish girls with blonde hair down to their butts or a bangin' young Dad in horn-rimmed spectacles cycling along with his child strapped into the seat behind him #swoon. These people are almost mythically good looking and add to that their generosity and helpfulness when you ask for directions or suggestions on what to do/eat/see.

 

So now that you know how great the transport and the people of the city are, here are 6 things to do in Copenhagen once you get there and only have a couple of days to see it all:

 

Nyhavn

The Nyhavn Canal is one of Copenhagen’s most easily recognisable landmarks with its colourful 17th and 18th-century era homes lining the canal housing restaurants and bars just a short distance from other impressive landmarks such as Kongens Nytorv, the town hall square which holds the Christiansborg parliament building, City Hall and a few museums.

 

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img Nyhavn canal
No. 9, Nyhavn, is the oldest house in the area dating back to 1681. The design of the house has not been altered since that time, with many of the houses lining the quays of Nyhavn having been the homes of prominent artists.

 

Shop along Strøget

Not far away from Nyhavn is the beginning of one of the longest and oldest pedestrian streets in the world, Strøget. The beautiful pedestrian mall runs 3.2 kilometres with international luxury stores through to smaller local boutiques and shops including Georg Jensen, Wood Wood and GUBI Store alongside chains like H&M (from neighbouring Sweden) and Victoria’s Secret.

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Trendy patrons outside Rist Kaffebar
Yes all of the Danes look this cool...

 

Torvehallerne Market

Not far from City Hall is this beautiful indoor and outdoor supermarket meets farmers market offers up a unique foodie experience with some of Copenhagen’s most loved local delicacies and traditional foods. One of the better-known meals being the open-faced sandwich called smørrebrød which consists of a delicious and super healthy dense dark rye bread (rugbrød) and a bunch of different toppings (pålæg) piled high, such as cold cut meat or fish, cheese and spreads.YUM. These smørrebrød are so good you’ll want to have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can even enjoy a sneaky glass of wine to wash it all down - you can even take it to go if you like as drinking outside is legal here.

 

Walk through Denmark’s best-known cemetery

Now, this may sound morbid and bizarre but one o0f the most beautiful parks in Copenhagen is actually better known for being the final resting place of some of the country’s most famous artists, philosophers and nobleman. This lush oasis for the deceased is known as Assistens Cemetery and holds those such as philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and the fairy tale writer known across the globe, Hans Christian Andersen. Located in the area of Nørrebro, this park is characterised by its tall overarching tree-lined pathways and lush hedge rimmed garden beds.

 

Hang out in Christiania - the Danish version of Nimbin

Freetown Christiania is a green and car-free neighbourhood in Copenhagen, best known for its hippie inhabitants. The area has a mix of homemade houses, workshops, art galleries, music venues and organic eateries.  Upon entering this topsy-turvy area of Copenhagen visitors are advised not to film or photograph in the area, especially not around Pusher Street, because of hash dealing, which is done quite in the open however is illegal in Denmark.

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Playtype located in the trendy Værnedamsvej.
Because you can't take photos in Christiania - here's a cute concept store called Playtype located in the trendy Værnedamsvej.

Louisiana Museum

For one of the world’s most beautiful contemporary museums head to Louisiana Museum of Modern Art which hosts a selection of innovative contemporary art as well as modernist classics, with 8-12 special exhibitions a year. To give an idea of the calibre of artists that present special exhibits here, when I visited, Yayoi Kusama’s well-known Infinity Retrospective was on display, an overwhelming visual feast of dots. Head just 35 kilometres north of Copenhagen by train, the museum is situated directly on the shore of the stunning Øresund Sound. The train from Copenhagen Central Station to Humlebæk Station near the museum takes about 45 minutes and is the perfect day trip out of the city centre.

All photos by: Sam Aldenton.
Student Flights

Sam Aldenton

Sam Aldenton is a travel writer, digital content creator (read: takes photos/videos with her iphone and sometimes a real camera) and former retail and youth trend forecaster. When she's not off discovering the world’s best pizza (an obsession picked up from her 4-years in New York), she makes her home in Brisbane, Australia. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @samaaldenton.